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WITHOUT A WORD:


A Rachel Alexander and Dash Mystery

By Carol Lea Benjamin

Avon, July, 2006 ($6.99)
ISBN: 0-06-053902-X

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

If you like dogs, and sassy female private investigators, then this is the series for you, if you haven't already discovered it, that is. Rachel and her pitbull companion, Dash -- short for Dashiell -- are suckers for a hard luck case. Well, at least Rachel is. In this case, a man wants her to find his missing wife. She's been missing for five years. Left without a passport, money, or change of clothes. She may have left with Roy...not her husband. His name is Leon. The reason Leon wants his wife found now, is that their daughter, Madison, has been accused of killing her doctor in a fit of rage. The case is complicated by the fact that Madison hasn't spoken since her mother disappeared. Of course Rachel takes on the case and it quickly becomes more dangerous than she could have imagined. That's what happens in nearly all of the cases that Rachel and Dash tackle.

One of the aspects of this series that I enjoy so much is the writer's ability to tell a darn good story in first person. That's not always easy to do. Many writers prefer third person narratives. Ms. Benjamin has developed Rachel and Dash in such a way that you would swear you know them personally and that the three of you are best friends and have been for years!

The plots are timely and completely plausible. No rabbit-out-of-the-hat tricks when it's time to end the book. Readers will be so involved in the story that when the end is reached, they may shake their heads and wonder why can't there more? They won't want to leave the world of Rachel and Dash. Fear not, there is a new hardcover book, THE HARD WAY, coming soon from William Morrow. And, yes, I think you'll enjoy the series so much that you will willingly buy the hardcover as soon as it appears on bookstore shelves. I know I will.

There are several titles in this series including: THIS DOG FOR HIRE, THE DOG WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, A HELL OF A DOG, LADY VANISHES, THE WRONG DOG, THE LONG GOOD BOY, and FALL GUY. You may read a review of THE WRONG DOG by clicking here.

I started reading this series with THE WRONG DOG. You may want to start at the beginning of the series, but I think you can jump in anywhere. You can start with WITHOUT A WORD and work your way back through the other books in the series. I think you will have so much fun tagging along with Rachel and Dash that you won't mind if you read about their cases out of chronological order. It will just be like hearing an old friend tell you a tale about something that happened before you met.

Benjamin is a former detective. She has also written award-winning books on dog training and dog behavior.

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